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Behind the scenes | How Kasab's execution was planned

A look into what was deemed as one of the most secret operations carried out by Mumbai police, State governement

Dev Chatterjee  |  Mumbai 

Ajmal Kasab’s hanging was one of the top secret operations of the and the Maharashtra government at a time when the local police was under attack for arresting two girls for their Facebook posting.

On Monday late night, even as the city was recovering from the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, the police transferred 25-year old from Mumbai to Pune amid heavy security and secrecy in a special flight.

The got the green signal after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected a mercy petition from on November 5th. On November 7, the home ministry set the date for Kasab’s and conveyed the decision to the state government. The entire operation was code-named Operation X and only 16 officials knew about the hanging.

In early November, while the jail was getting ready for the hanging, went through a health check-up  in his egg-shaped cell at Arthur Road jail in central Mumbai. At that time, police told media that Kasab was suffering from dengue and hence the medical tests. But only few knew that Kasab was being made ready for  the execution, as per the laid-down procedure before any hanging.

On November 12, when Kasab was informed that he will be executed by November 21, he asked to inform his mother in Pakistan about the hanging. Kasab also said that he did not have any last wishes. After Kasab was hanged on Wednesday morning, police officials say he was buried inside the Pune jail. This was to avoid making any shrine for the terrorist in India by the fundamentalist groups. A judge, the jailer and the jail doctor along with a posse of policemen witnessed the hanging.

It all started on November 26, 2008, when Kasab along with nine other terrorists landed in Mumbai in a stolen boat from Pakistan.  None of the Indian coastal security agencies were able to catch the terrorists as they hijacked a boat and later killed its Indian owner. The terrorists attacked Taj Mahal hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House -- a Jewish centre in Mumbai. Kasab and a fellow gunman, on the other hand, attacked platform number 13 of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)  killing more than 40 people. The CCTV cameras caught Kasab killing passengers and police officials in CST. The duo later killed three top police officers near St Xaviers College lane who tried to stop the rampage.

As Kasab tried to escape in a stolen car near Chowpatty beach,  the police arrested Kasab just past midnight. One of the police constable Tukaram Omble was killed while capturing Kasab. Kasab later told police that he was recruited  by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group for the Mumbai carnage.

On Feb. 26, 2009,  police charged Kasab with murder and of waging war against India, alleging he and  others terrorists were aided by 37 others. The prosecution filed more than 11,000 pages of evidence against him in a special court set up inside the Arthur Road jail. During the trial, Kasab told the court that he is ready to be executed: “If I am hanged for this, I am not bothered. I don’t want any mercy from the court.” In his confession, Kasab also revealed new details on the attack and on his background as a Faridkot lad. He gave details on how LeT trained him to use AK-47s, rocket launchers, grenades and mortars.

Judge M.L. Tahiliyani of the Special Court found Kasab guilty of all the 86 charges, including murder, criminal conspiracy and waging war against India on May 3rd last year.

Three days later,  Kasab was sentenced to death by the special court for his role in the attacks. The SC later upheld the death sentence. Kasab is finally hanged on November 21st, just four days ahead of the Mumbai attacks' fouth anniversary.

First Published: Wed, November 21 2012. 17:27 IST